Goal Setting – written 2012

In my humble opinion goal setting is the one and only route to success. If you don’t know where the destination is, how can you plan a route?

When I have my initial consultation with new clients one of my first questions is,” What are your goals?” and generally I’m met with a generic  boring answer of “weight loss” or “improve my fitness”. Frankly this makes me cringe because it’s not an answer; there is no commitment or ownership of it. It’s like going to a restaurant and asking the waiter for dinner or going to a clothes shop and asking the assistant if they have trousers.

I still listen to what they consider to be goals, note them down and then guide them towards making them more:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time frame.


Basically this makes your goal individual to the client. For example, if the goal is weight loss, how much is the total? What is the ideal weight you would like to be?

It could be sports specific as well, such as; run a 5km, cycling 100km, complete a triathlon.

This is when I get to know more about my clients and learn about their insecurities and how they can priorities what is important to them. I use this to really tap into their emotions and see where there are weaknesses.


To make sure that you are progressing towards the final goal, it’s important to set smaller goals to keep you focused. For example; weekly weigh ins, body measurements or fitness testing every 6 weeks.

I use this as a motivation tool. It’s easy to keep a note of where you have been and how you’re feeling day by day. It helps you to keep focus when you feel like you’re on a plateau or that you haven’t improved. Looking back at where you started will help you to feel positive and realise that you are getting there.


It is human nature to always want what you haven’t got, but it’s my job to make sure that your feet stay on the ground and that you are not setting yourself up to fail. Your goal must work for you. It could be something that others deem simple, like committing to going to the gym twice a week or attending a yoga class, or cycling to work on Thursdays. It doesn’t need to be ground breaking, just able to fit into your life.


I find that the media are very good at putting ideas into people’s heads about radical new diets that can help you drop stones in a matter of weeks, or secrets to toned arms, or how this celebrity lost their baby weight in 3 weeks or how to get a six pack in 10 days, so my clients believe it to be possible. I can’t put my hand on my heart and swear to you that it is lies but I can tell you; that for a mother of 2 with a full time job and a family, just being able to make the time to see me once a week is going to be a bit tricky. So this is why having a goal that is realistic is very important. You’re investing into the most precious thing you have, your health, so we need to make sure we keep that and get you feeling better than you ever have before.

If you have never been smaller than a size 16 in your adult life, you are 5’11” and play front row for the ladies rugby team why would you want to be size 8. It isn’t in your genetic makeup to be that small, wouldn’t be safe for you to do that and you wouldn’t be able to continue playing the sport you love. However being able to move as though you were size 8, run 100m sprint in under 16 seconds and be able to squat 20kgs more is a more realistic approach to your lifestyle.

Time frame:

I always find this the hardest part of gaol setting because it requires the most commitment. You are stating that you are going to work to achieve your goal and it will be done by this day. It is the most daunting part, but in my opinion the most important.

Think of your journey to work; you get up, do your morning routine, eat breakfast, head out to work, get to the train platform 2mins before your train is due, get to the office in time to prepare for your first meeting…….

Everything runs by a schedule that you have determined yourself to achieve success. Now what would happen if the train driver just rocked up when he wanted to? The whole of your day is going to be out of line, extra stress for you, etc.

Why should your fitness goal be any different?

Set the date, put it in your diary, circle it, put it as a high priority and stick to it. This is the driving force behind you reaching the goals you have decided are important enough for you to ask for my help.

SMART goals are the only goals I want to hear about and they are the best way to achieve success.


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